HALF PIECE RECORDS MAG AZ IN ES IN DALLAS: 4528 McKINNEY AVE. 209 S. AKARD, downtown RICHARDSON: 508 LOCKWOOD FARMERS BRANCH SHOPPING CTR. SW CORNER, VALLEY VIEW IN WACO: 25TH & COLUMBUS IN AUSTIN: 1514 LAVACA 6103 BURNET RD. IN FORT WORTH: 6301 CAMP BOWIE BLVD. Caucus. . . from page 10 controls the House: rules, administration and calendars. “There’s a persistent feeling that in spite of seniority, some members still get screwed,” said a House employee. “Clayton’s people get their seniority assignments. Others don’t,” he said. The caucus also wants to extend the application of a reform that Clayton himself instituted in ’77the issuance to all legislators of a “priority number” \(chopiece of legislation introduced by each of them will stand a decent chance of coming up for a floor vote. Trouble is, much of this legislation never reaches the floor because Clayton’s chairmen and chairwomen can keep it bottled up in committee, so the caucus wants priority treatment to apply to the committee process as well as to floor action. Another reform proposal would require a committee chair to sign and release a bill within 48 hours after approval by the committee. Housekeeping is high on the caucus’s list of reforms. It wants to remove the speaker’s power to fire a member’s staff \(ironically, Clayton is the only known victim of this powerwhen he was engaged in his first race for the speakership in 1973, his aide, Jack Gullahorn, then on the payroll of the natural resources committee, was sacked by then-speaker Daniel’s rules committee for doing politsergeant-at-arms, chief clerk, parliamentarian and other House officers to be elected; and it wants the speaker to disclose his office’s budget and submit it to the membership for approval. Last laugh? The nine proposals were sent to Clayton by Hoestenbach with a request that he reply “at your earliest convenience,” but the speaker has not deigned to respond formally to the caucus, apparently out of a conviction that if it is ignored, it might go away. Clayton seemed buoyed by the caucus’s inability to draw more than 16 members to its September 23 meeting in Austin, even though it was timed for the same day as the UT Longhorns’ first home football game \(a scheduling ploy that often swells attenlaughingly dubbed them the “Sweet Sixteen.” But his laugh is a little too quick and a little too loud. There’s no denying that the caucus has already made a mark. During the waning days of the special session, Clayton was newly visible on the floor, shaking hands and frantically trying to mend fences enough to pass a much-modified version of his tax proposalshe was even inviting some of the malcontents into his apartment for early-morning breakfast chats. And the speaker’s chief aide, Gullahorn, who had become something of a lightning rod for legislators’ complaints, will depart for private law practice December 1, unmourned by the caucus members, who consider him a right-wing ideologue and the architect of the more reprehensible schemes that have originated in the speaker’s office. Clayton is taking steps to head off the revolt. Already added to his staff is Rusty Kelley, who recently has been a savings and loan lobbyist but last session was the widely popular sergeant-at-arms of the House. And while he has not responded to Hoestenbach’s letter, Clayton has let it be known that he can go along with some of the changes the caucus seeksexpanded use of the priority number and the 48-hour rule are possibilities. Irving Republican Bob Davis, the rules expert on Clayton’s team, doubts that the caucus will get much further with rules changes, however. “They don’t have the numbers to force changes Billy doesn’t want,” he says. “So what we’ll probably do is pull their teeth by adopting some of the changes as his own. The ones he can’t live with, he’ll fight on the floor.” But that is just the pointClayton and his team are going to find themselves in more and more fights, because, wish as they might, the caucus is not going to disappear. One of its leaders, Rep. John Bryant of Dallas, says that none of the rump group’s intensity has been lost, despite the low turnout at the September 23 meeting: “I think feelings are exactly the same.” Rep. Dave Allred of Wichita Falls is even more combative: “We weren’t sent down here for peace and harmony, and we weren’t sent down here to go along to git along,” he says. Whether or not the Sam Houston Caucus is able to hold Clayton to any significant changes next January, the very presence of even a loosely organized group that won’t “go along” is going to cause him a measure of grief, and should the speaker stub his toe at all during the session, he can rest assured that the caucus will make the most of it. But the group’s real punch could be in the speaker’s race of 1981. That seems a long way off, but it will be an especially important session, since it will handle post-census reapportionment chores, and maneuvering for the top spot two years hence will begin the day after Clayton is elected for this round. As long as it just hangs together and stays competitive in its battles with Clayton in ’79, the Sam Houston Caucus could have the last laugh in ’81. Saralee Tiede is a reporter with the Austin bureau of the Dallas TimesHerald. Bob and Sara Roebuck Anchor National Financial Services 1524 E. Anderson Lane, Austin bonds stocks insurance mutual funds optional retirement program Sugarland, A Tale of Texas Prisons As for the prison system itself, its purpose is to make money. Who in the Texas Establishment reaps the benefits of the enormous profits? Daryl doesn’t know, but the costs of labor and the prices of food are easy to compute. And therein lies the power of Sugarland and perhaps also something about little presses and the traditional novel. Foreman is not writing about a holocaust beyond the imagination. He is telling a story about this time and this place, and he tells it fair: Daryl is released, given another chance and some hope, and his two best friends escape, successfully. The end, like the beginning, makes us think of ourselves, at least of neighbors or friends. But in between is our own present horror, a shocking story that needed to be told, a regional and contemporaneous story which is also timeless and universal. Max Westbrook The Texas Observer $7.50 from: THORP SPRINGS PRESS 3414 Robinson Avenue Austin, Texas 78722 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
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